Connacht Tribune - Opinion Piece
The little book that sums up idiosyncrasies of the IrishOctober 17, 2012 - 8:21am
Have you ever gone away on a sun holiday and packed ‘the makings of a fry’ in your suitcase? And do you still go out to buy your messages and then come home to put them in the press?
What about the unique Irish occupation of drinking red lemonade – particularly when your mother boils it for you because you’ve got a sick stomach? Or have you ever wondered why a common Spanish phrase like Olé Olé Olé became the obvious choice as an anthem for Irish soccer?
And most of all, who in God’s name thought it would be a good idea to cut up what’s left of a wedding cake and send it – in tissues or custom-made little boxes – to people who either didn’t make the big day or, even worse, who didn’t make the cut on the invite list?
If it’s a guaranteed laugh you’re looking for, get your hands on a new slim volume entitled More Stuff Irish People Love – because if this doesn’t at least make you smile, you just don’t have a sense of humour.
It’s so simple really – 82 clever observations on things we love or just do on automatic pilot. And it’s a follow-up to the original Stuff Irish People love from Colin Murphy and Daniel O’Dea, the guys behind the Feckin’ series on Irish songs, sayings, sex, slang and insults.
But the beauty of this is that you can read a dip in and out of it – and each of the observations is little more than a page in length. So it’s not like you have to set time aside to enjoy it.
When, for example, did the Fields of Athenry become the song for all seasons.....Munster rugby, Liverpool and Celtic matches and even the odd version at a Galway hurling match?
Where are the words in a song that’s about a poor Irish lad being sent to Botany Bay for stealing Trevelyan’s corn that suggest it would stir your team on to greater heights?
At least Liverpool fans changed it to the Fields of Anfield Road – so that ‘our love was on the wing’ became ‘Stevie Heighway on the wing’ – but it isn’t even an old Irish ballad. Pete St John wrote in the seventies. That’s the nineteen seventies.
And how did we allow politicians to give the humble old brown envelope such a bad name? Was it obligatory for all dodgy developers, taking their first step on the bribery trail, to first head for a stationary store and purchase a big wad of these envelopes?
When – or indeed why – did we start the tradition of automatically going for a few pints after Mass? Now it’s at a point that there has to be a jazz session at midday, unless there’s an early kick-off on Sky Sports.
And why is there always someone, somewhere ready to tell you that – no matter what bargain you got in the shops – you could have got it much cheaper somewhere else? Or no matter what short-cut you’d discovered between any two given points, there’s someone else who knew a shorter way.
When was it accepted that the greatest cause of illness is Ireland was a bad pint, which can cause – according to our authors – everything from severe headaches, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps and erectile dysfunction?
And given that it’s the greatest cause of absenteeism in the land, why hasn’t the Government set up a task force to ask the big breweries just what they’re putting into our pints to make us so sick after only drinking our own body weight in it the night before?
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.